job satisfaction between Malaysia
Faculty of Business Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor,
Tropical Resources Institute, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Purpose – One of the main issues that many organizations will face in the coming years is the
management of increasing diversity in the workforce. The purpose of this paper is to examine the
levels of individualism and collectivism of managers in two different cultural environments, that is,
Malaysia and Australia.
Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected by questionnaire from middle managers in a
total of 18 organisations in Malaysia and ten organisations in Australia. Individualism-collectivism
was measured using Singelis et al.’s 32-item scale. The items in the scale are designed to measure the
horizontal and vertical aspects of individualism-collectivism. The items were answered on seven-point
scale where 1 indicates strong disagreement and 7 indicates strong agreement. In addition, the
seven-item job satisfaction measure, which is part of the Survey of Organizations questionnaire
developed by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, was used.
Findings – The study reveals the existence of differences between Malaysian and Australian
managers on the level of vertical individualism, horizontal collectivism, and vertical collectivism. In
addition, the Australian managers appear to have a signiﬁcantly higher level of job satisfaction than
their counterpart in Malaysia.
Research limitations/implications – Overall, the ﬁndings of the present study suggest that there
have been signiﬁcant shifts in value classiﬁcations in Malaysia since Hofstede conducted his original
study. This ﬁnding underscores the fact that, although a nation’s work-related values and attitudes are
deep-seated preferences for certain end states; they are subject to change over the years as external
environmental changes shape a society. Therefore, researchers and practitioners should use caution
before attempting to use work-related values and attitudes to understand human behaviours in
Practical implications – The results of this study may be of interest and assistance to managers of
multinational and international organizations who need to manage in global contexts and, therefore,
need to understand cultural-driven differences in personal and interpersonal work-related conditions
between and across nations.
Originality/value – The results of this study provide empirical corroboration of the theoretical
perspectives of Singelis et al. on individualism-collectivism and horizontal and vertical dimensions of
individualism and collectivism respectively. In addition, they may be of interest and assistance to
managers of multinational and international organizations who need to manage in global contexts and,
therefore, need to understand cultural-driven differences in work attitudes of employees between and
across nations. Finally, the study’s ﬁndings contribute to a growing body of research that illustrates
the need to take a multidimensional approach to the study on individualism-collectivism.
Keywords Individual behaviour, Collectivism, Job satisfaction, Multinational companies, Malaysia,
Paper type Research paper
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
International Journal of Educational
Vol. 24 No. 2, 2010
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited